KARACHI: The Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) track will be cleared of encroachments up to 50 feet on each side of the track under the supervision of Sindh government while efforts will be made to ensure that the encroachments don’t surface again.
This was decided in a meeting presided over by the Karachi commissioner held on Tuesday at the commissioner’s office. The meeting was attended by Pakistan Railways Operations Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) Azhar Rasheed Khan, Pakistan Railways Divisional Superintendent (DS) Syed Mazhar Ali Shah, Karachi Development Authority director-general, Sindh Mass Transit Authority (SMTA) Managing Director (MD) Iqtidar Ahmed, Karachi Urban Transport Corporation (KUTC) project director, Anti-Encroachment Director Faisal Bashir Memon, all deputy commissioners (DCs), and police officials.
Pakistan Railways DS briefed the meeting on KCR being an important project as it is also a part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) hence it needed to be revived as per policy guidelines.
Shallwani said that since KCR is essential because of CPEC and it is also being monitored by the Supreme Court (SC), the government will make efforts and take practical steps as required to revive KCR. In the light of SC decision, the commissioner said that collective team effort was needed to resolve the issue for the benefit of people. Every relevant authority has an individual role to play according to their capabilities, he added.
Shallwani added that the KCR main line, ML-1 and loop line will also be cleared and the smooth flow on tracks will be ensured. Before the federal minister for railways visits KCR, we will undertake a pre-visit on Saturday to observe and prepare a consolidated report for SC, which will be submitted in 10 days, he concluded.
West DC informed that 4.5km out of a total of 7.5km track has been cleared from illegal encroachments and is open and ready for KCR.
SMTA MD said that once Pakistan Railways gives the right of way to provincial government, the fencing and other work will be started.
In this regard a technical proposal has already been prepared, and after it approval, a financial proposal will be prepared. We will stand by the Sindh government to work on the revival of KCR, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2019.